Michael Head, former frontman of the Pale Fountains and current co-leader along with his brother John – who is also a Strand – of Brit pop outfit Shack, turns in a stellar chamber pop performance with Magical World of the Strands. Head, who is no stranger to either classy, baroque pop or neo-psychedelia, has composed an album of gorgeously illustrated songs that are lushly orchestrated by a standard rock quartet augmented by a flutist (Leslie Roberts) and a string quartet. The result is an album that, while little known, is a classic, a masterpiece of modern chamber pop.
In the decade that The Dear Hunter has existed, Casey Crescenzo, the mastermind behind the concept, has been nothing short of both prolific and creative. Now past the halfway point in this 6 part series, The Dear Hunter sounds more cinematic and opera-esque than ever, while still being very much a prog-rock listen at its core. At over 70 minutes and songs as long as 9 minutes, there’s a wealth of sounds here, including jazz, orchestral, dance and rock, and it isn’t uncommon for guitars to take a backseat to keys, flutes, trumpets, etc. If you’re a fan of Crescenzo’s harder moments, there’s enough here to keep you satisfied, but the classical and softer moments dominate and illuminate the album.
Huminoita is a music collective from Oulu, Finland. Basically they are playing psychedelic/space rock with a shot of post, stoner and jazz, the latter due to some saxophone attendance.
Hard, booming vintage era guitar riffs is a key and prominent feature in most compositions, as are delicate echoing guitar details, gnarly but brittle riffs and psychedelic tinged and soaked guitar solo runs. A nervous electric piano finds it’s way into the proceedings here and there, as do careful organ textures and nonverbal, layered backing vocals either soft or with a more chant-like expression. The saxophone makes some occasional visits too, and in one instance the flute is brought in to add an earthy, folky vibe to the proceedings.